Finding the words: How to tell your family you’re stressed

Paula S. Katz | September 29, 2015

Q: How do I talk to my family about how stressed I am?

A: Make sure the phones are off. Start by stating, “I want to talk about what’s happening to me. I need to share something with you right now. I’m really feeling stressed.

Use “I” statements like, “I need more help around the house,” not “You never do anything around here.” Open the door to a discussion instead of going on a housework strike.

Also realize that although physicians think they are supposed to do it all, “You can have it all, just not at the same time,” as Helen Gurley Brown pointed out. Draw your family into the problem by asking, “What can we do as a family? I’m feeling overwhelmed.” Let them help come up with solutions.

And if you need to go to your room for a half hour by yourself, say, “It’s not because I don’t love you and don’t want to talk to you. I just need a half hour and I need it alone.”

Response from Deb Wood, PhD, senior consultant and certified employee assistance professional with Minneapolis-based VITAL Worklife, a national behavioral health consulting organization.


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